Four games at home, including two against the team they are chasing for the final B.C. Premier Baseball League playoff position, was an opportunity for the Whalley Chiefs to catch the Abbotsford Cardinals.
But when the weekend was over, the 16-25 (won-lost) Chiefs didn’t gain ground in the race for eighth place, but moved closer to the end of the regular season.
The Chiefs played a pair of makeup games Saturday, hosting both the Blue Jays and the White Rock Tritons at Whalley Stadium, and lost both.
They then split Sunday’s double header with the 15-19 Cardinals, finishing the weekend where they started – two and a-half games back of the Cardinals with just seven games remaining.
The Tritons managed just four hits Saturday, but posted a 6-0 shutout victory in the start to the Chiefs’ weekend. A walk followed by an infield error by the Chiefs led to an unearned run by White Rock in the first inning.
A single and a double scored another Tritons run in the second, and a triple, and error and a balk accounted for two more runs in the third. Making the most of their hits, White Rock scored twice more in the fifth. A pair of walks put two men on base, and a double drove them both in.
The Chiefs managed just three singles, two from leadoff hitter Lichel Hirakawa-Kao.
In the second make-up game of the day for the Chiefs, the Blue Jays were the home team in Saturday’s second game at Whalley Stadium, and a three-run fourth-inning lifted North Delta to a 4-2 win.
Seven different Chiefs batters had singles, but Whalley didn’t score until putting up two in the top of the seventh.
The Jays had just three hits, but they drew eight walks off three Chiefs pitchers.
Sunday against Abbotsford, Whalley began the day by allowing 11 runs in the final three innings of a 12-4 loss. The Cardinals had 14 hits and drew four walks.
Jacob Robazza and Colton Wright each had a pair of hits for Whalley.
The teams were tied 1-1 after four innings, before Abbotsford scored three times in the fifth and added six more in the sixth.
In the second game, the Cardinals used a five-run sixth inning to take a 6-2 lead. The Chiefs scored two in the bottom half of the inning then added three more in the seventh to salvage a split of the double header.
Hirakawa-Kao started the seventh-inning rally with a lead-off single, then scored on a double from Lucas Soper. Soper tied the game, scoring on Spencer Rankin’s double. Thomas Espig ended the game with a sacrifice fly to score Ranking from third.
After their win in Whalley Saturday, the Blue Jays completed a perfect weekend by winning twice at home against the third-place Victoria Mariners to improve to 14-24 and move to within three games of Abbotsford in the playoff race.
They took a 5-0 lead after four innings of the first game at Mackie Park, then hung on for a 5-4 victory.
Ryo Takenaka was the winning pitcher, throwing four and one-third innings and allowing four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Takenaka struck out four Victoria batters. Dylan MacAhonic earned the save, giving up just two hits while pitching two and two-thirds innings and shutting out the Mariners.
Evan Rogers and Matt Gillen each had a pair of hits for North Delta, with Rogers driving in three runs.
In the second game, three Jays pitchers combined for the shutout in a 3-0 triumph. Austin Ell got the start and earned the win, pitching five innings. The Ladner resident gave up five hits and a walk with three strikeouts before giving way to Sands Secondary student Jonathan Cote. MacAhonic collected his second save of the day, his first two of the season, coming into the game with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh. The Mariners hit into a double play to end the game.
Takenaka was the leader at the plate with a pair of doubles, one run scored and one batted in.